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Bridging the Gap: Students, Teachers and Social Media
Posted on October 5th 2011
We live in a day and age where every social account synchronizes with a smart phone. No one is out of reach. We can engage with anyone at any time. That is why more teachers should embrace the idea of utilizing Social Media to connect with their students and parents. As a society, it is time to accept this idea as well.
I understand the push-back; I am a father, too. Anytime a non-parental adult makes themselves available to our children, the sirens go off. I am no way suggesting that the teacher should have unsupervised, all-access to our children. What I am saying is that every time I look over at my 16-year-old, he is looking down at his phone. Our teachers must be where our children are. If our children are on Facebook and Twitter, then our educators should have a presence there as well. If a teacher can send out a tweet to a class full of students, reminding them to finish their research paper, we could be one step closer to better grades. “Finish your homework?” or “Remember: Test tomorrow” … imagine the power of one nighttime tweet!
Parents are part of this equation as well. Our children are not the only ones attached at the hip to Social Media. The first thing I do in the morning is open Facebook, check Twitter and respond to messages and @mentions ... then I check my email. I get mobile notifications from every one of my Social channels. I am just as connected as my teenager is. Often times, I feel a bit in the dark about my child's lessons, classwork, test schedules and homework. A teacher-run Facebook group would shed light on these areas, not to mention the parent-to-parent networking power it would provide. We could create and be part of an online mini-community dedicated to the educational advancement of our children. We can be up-to-date and informed on the day-to-day classroom activities, and receive notifications from teachers on all things important.
Teachers should be where the students are, they should also be where the parents are; the best places to start are Facebook, Google+ and Twitter. Social Media integrates into almost every aspect of our daily lives. We tweet about great food, we take pictures of our children's milestones and post them on Facebook, we blog about positive experiences, and post political rants on YouTube. We have accepted Social Media as a solution to inform others as well as keep us informed. It is time that we let it do just that for our educational system.